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Confusions over Govt Rohingya diplomacy

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29th-Nov-2017       
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ON one hand the Foreign Minister on Monday asked Bangladesh ambassadors abroad to engage with their respective host country and multilateral organisations to garner support for resolving the Rohingya crisis. While on the other Bangladesh and Myanmar both have signed an 'instrument' on Rohingya repatriation on Thursday with no ending deadline amid high hopes that the forcibly displaced Rohingyas will start returning to their homeland within the next two months. Since an agreement was signed, so the question involuntarily arises, what was the need to summon our envoys posted abroad to garner international support when much of the international community has clearly taken a position?

First, the government did not share what are the terms and conditions mentioned in the signed arrangement creating confusion on how the repatriation will be executed, and second despite the passing of a UN draft resolution it failed to engage the UN or the international community to be a part of the agreement. To cut a long story short, at least one point is clear - the repatriation of the Rohingyas are not clearly guaranteed by Myanmar since MOUs are non-committal agreements. Additionally, the government succumbed to Myanmar's demand to take back the Rohingyas who had entered Bangladesh only after October 9, 2016. What would happen to the ones who had entered before? Would the government take their responsibilities?

More to it, the PM on Sunday stressed the need for mobilizing international pressure and bilateral negotiations together for a peaceful and speedy repatriation of the refugees to Myanmar. The two at the same time are unmistakably conflicting and making the future of hundreds and thousands of refugees uncertain and doubtful.
We urge the government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to refrain from creating ambiguity and self-contradictory decisions in tackling the crisis. Despite several visits of foreign leaders and delegations, international support and aid pouring in like rain - the government has visibly failed to chalk out a diplomatic solution.

Whereas our politicians and diplomats should have acted in tuned with UN demands, it has taken a sharp U-turn from its previous stance while making the crisis more complex. We fear, if this ambiguous and conflicting diplomacy continues, the global support garnered so far, would dramatically shift translating a humanitarian crisis into a pure bilateral issue. Lastly, following the global Rohingya fund to dry up within less than 100 days the government must quickly decide what to do next. Time is running out.

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